Senator seeks to block UW COVID restrictions

Posted at 10:45 a.m. on July 29, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON - Senator Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, Co-Chairman of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR), announced Thursday, July 29, that he will be moving to require the UW System comply with Wisconsin’s Administrative Rules Law by submitting an emergency administrative rule relating to any mandatory COVID-19 regulations that campuses are invoking on students or visitors.


Nass said this action is in response to campuses newly announced COVID-19 mandates such as requiring healthy unvaccinated students submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, requiring students to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status and pending announcements on mandatory masking.

“Unfortunately, some chancellors in the UW System consider themselves mini-Andrea Palms not beholden to following state law and moving quickly to take advantage of the Delta-variant hysteria to enact excessive Covid-19 mandates," Nass said. "The legislature should not drag its feet in utilizing the powers we have to prevent state agencies from abusing the statutory and constitutional rights of citizens as was done in 2020."


Nass will be asking the JCRAR next week to approve the following motion: That the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, pursuant to s. 227.26 (2) (b), Stats., determines that the policies of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System relating to requirements associated with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic meet the definition of rules under s. 227.01 (13), Stats., and directs the agency to promulgate its current COVID-19 policies as emergency rules within 30 days, and to promulgate any similar, subsequent policies as emergency rules at the time of their adoption.

The requirements subject to this directive would include all COVID-19 policies that relate to physical access to system property, as well as all COVID-19 policies under which an individual may be subject to disciplinary action, whether the policies are adopted directly by the agency or by its delegates on a campus-by-campus basis.

Nass said that, upon submission of an emergency administrative rule which by statute must occur in 30-days, the JCRAR would have the power to suspend any individual provisions within it or the emergency rule in its entirety, thus blocking the UW System and its campuses from enforcing COVID-19 related mandates on students and visitors.